The Clintons Keep Their Eyes on the Prize

By Sperling, Godfrey | The Christian Science Monitor, January 9, 2001 | Go to article overview

The Clintons Keep Their Eyes on the Prize


Sperling, Godfrey, The Christian Science Monitor


We're used to seeing our presidents move out toward the horizon when they leave office - the most memorable being the forced exit of Richard Nixon and his wave as he flew away. Presidents are expected to leave Washington gladly for retirement elsewhere, usually where they came from.

But not Bill Clinton. He's leaving the presidency, but still sticking around.

President Woodrow Wilson did not even stay for the Harding inauguration. Instead, he and Mrs. Wilson left the Capitol ceremony early by a side door and went immediately to a house in northwest Washington they had purchased for their retirement. Wilson stayed there in semiseclusion for the remaining three years of his life.

Anyway, if anyone had the idea that Bill Clinton would be disappearing over the horizon soon on his way to making multiple speeches in out-of-the way places that won't even produce the tiniest of news, well, they are dead wrong.

He'll remain a power - perhaps the power - in the Democratic Party, if he is able to implement his plans. And he obviously intends to be a Washington-based power.

If Bill Clinton now is to become the titular head of the party, he is off to a good start. Already, he's been able to move his old pal and favorite fundraiser, Terry McAuliffe, toward taking the helm of the Democratic National Committee.

Mr. Clinton will continue to be heavily in demand as a fundraising speaker for Democratic politicians all around the US. But the question will be: Will he be willing to contribute that kind of time to the party? I think he will. At the same time, he's going to make a lot of those $100,000 speeches on his own speaking tour - where he will be able to make millions for himself in a hurry. And then - like Hillary - he, too, will write a big, moneymaking book.

So yes, I think the Clinton team still is with us in Washington - although now it's clearly the Hillary-Bill duo with Mrs. …

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